Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Semantic Search momentum continues: Netbase gets 9 million dollar funding

It was only six months back when Netbase, a semantic search company focused on Health and Consumer segments, went through lot of negative publicity after Techcrunch published this story titled "Netbase thinks you can get rid of Jews with Alcohol and Salt." NetBase Solutions’ HealthBase, a semantic search engine that aggregates medical content from millions of authoritative health sites including WebMD, Wikipedia, and PubMed was the center of this story when many users found some glaring glitches. It wasn't over for Netbase despite heavy criticism as it is evident from this news which say that it has raised $9 million in venture capital funding, completing its Series C round with Altos Ventures and Thomvest Ventures Inc --obviously, the VCs are seeing something which the media couldn't. In my opinion, these technologies are still a long way from being perfect and we will continue to see 20% to 40% errors - in many cases, it is dependent on the domain/content and the technology needs to be tuned for that.

The marketing message of Netbase is not very different from what you hear from many companies in the semantic search, natural language or text analytics space but they do have global brands like PandG and Elsevier as customers. The company also claims that by April about sixty percent of nurses around the world will be looking up information in its resources with the help of NetBase’s HealthBase Insight Discovery tool.

Overall, it is good news for semantic search companies who are trying to raise money as VCs believe that they have a good future and demand will only grow. I am sure they are aware of imperfections but can still see the value it can deliver to solve certain problems in a particular domain.
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